Iraqi election & our forces there
September 28, 2004 12:29 AM   Subscribe

Iraqi Politics Filter: Does anyone know how the elections in Iraq are going to work? If the Ba'ath party reappeared and wanted to stand, would we let them, or is it only an approved list of parties that are running?

If we don't like the way the election is going, what chance do you think there is that we'll let it go it's course?

If we are asked to leave by the next prime minister, will we go?
posted by twine42 to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
The Coalition Provisional Authority outlawed the Ba'ath Party in May 2003. After sovereignty, the new provisional government has not, to my knowledge, acted to reverse that order, though I suppose they are legally entitled to.

UN Security Council resolution 1546 requires the multinational force to withdraw if the Iraqi government so requests. Because Iraq is sovereign, Iraq arguably already had the right to ask the multinational force to withdraw even without that resolution. I would be surprised if we were asked to leave, and even more surprised if we did not leave once asked.

I believe official U.S. policy is that we'll accept the result of the election no matter what. But if a radical Islamic state gets elected... things will get interesting.
posted by profwhat at 6:51 AM on September 28, 2004

I've also heard that any party or official connected to Saddam's regime is not allowed to run for office.

I think it will be an Islamic Republic, even if this election gets our puppet in. If our puppets are in this time, look for civil war.

We're not ever officially leaving, even if asked, due to the planned megabases there. There'll always be many thousands of US soldiers in Iraq, like we did in Germany post ww2. Of course, things may change, but i haven't seen anything disputing this base thing.

(I can dig up links on all this tonight)
posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on September 28, 2004

Does anyone know how the elections in Iraq are going to work?

I presume you mean the national elections, planned for January, 2005, which will elect 275 people to the Majlis Watani (National Assembly)--because there have already been elections in Iraq in many areas, on the municipal and regional level, since late 2003 I think. And from what I've read, they've gone surprisingly well--full suffrage for both men and women (though women haven't always taken advantage of their new rights), no religious or tribal exclusions, and no literacy or party requirements. Oddly enough, though, I can't find a minimum voting age listed anywhere.

As to who's qualified to run in the national elections, the interim Iraqi Constitution says...
Article 31 [Composition, Qualification]
(A) The National Assembly shall consist of 275 members. It shall enact a law dealing with the replacement of its members in the event of resignation, removal, or death.
(B) A nominee to the National Assembly must fulfill the following conditions:
(1) He shall be an Iraqi no less than 30 years of age.
(2) He shall not have been a member of the dissolved Ba'ath Party with the rank of Division Member or higher, unless exempted pursuant to the applicable legal rules.
(3) If he was once a member of the dissolved Ba'ath Party with the rank of Full Member, he shall be required to sign a document renouncing the Ba'ath Party and disavowing all of his past links with it before becoming eligible to be a candidate, as well as to swear that he no longer has any dealings or connection with Ba'ath Party organizations. If it is established in court that he lied or fabricated on this score, he shall lose his seat in the National Assembly.
(4) He shall not have been a member of the former agencies of repression and shall not have contributed to or participated in the persecution of citizens.
(5) He shall not have enriched himself in an illegitimate manner at the expense of the homeland and public finance.
(6) He shall not have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and shall have a good reputation.
(7) He shall have at least a secondary school diploma, or equivalent.
(8) He shall not be a member of the armed forces at the time of his nomination.
On October 12th of this year, Iraqis are going to be conducting a giant one-day country-wide census with volunteers (mostly local teachers) going door-to-door to try to create the first ever official electoral rolls for Iraq. Lack of an accurate census/election roll is/was a big issue in previous elections--the only widespread acceptable ID is the old government food voucher card that 95% of Iraqi families have, so in some cities, they had to initially handle elections where each family got the card stamped once when the male head voted and once in a different color when the female head voted.

The national elections will be proportional (which the UN suggested), not the US/Anglo first-past-the-post method that a lot of people (like Richard Perle) would have preferred. The proportional system was set up by a United Nations team that has in the past conducted elections in East Timor, Nigeria, Cambodia, etc., and they're going to help run the elections in January. I'm sure there will be a lot of observers watching how things go.

The Washington Post has done a number of really interesting stories about the Iraqi elections; check their archives going back to late 2003. This story from February, 2004 about running the first-ever elections in a backwater part of Iraq is a really good one, and hopeful, but shows what a massive undertaking democracy is going to be for this country. This report from an Iraqi blogger from last August about picking the 81-member National Council sounds worse than high school class elections--but the end result turned out alright. The most encouraging thing so far, and the one to emphasize, is that in nearly all of the elections so far, even in the rural areas, secular professional types have handily beat out Islamic fundamentalist hardliner types by a big margin. That's crucial, and we can only hope it stays that way.

I doubt the Iraqis would ask us to leave in the near-term. They want help rebuilding, and outside investment, and most of all they want security. As bad as things are right now, it could get a hell of a lot worse if we left.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:57 PM on September 28, 2004

By the way, two well-known Iraqi bloggers (and brothers) Ali Fadhil and Mohammed Fadhil have decided to run for office in the January elections as part of the Iraq Pro-Democracy Party. If you're not reading their blog,, I highly recommend it.

More on the proportional voting thing: Seats in the National Assembly will be allocated among Political Entities through a system of proportional representation. Basically, for every 1/275 (0.36%) of the popular vote a party receives one candidate from the ranked candidate list will be awarded a seat in the National Assembly (see CPA Order 96 Section 3.4 for exact formulas and other details)." But the elected National Assembly could, when they have their constitutional convention in 2005, decide not to use proportional representation anymore if it looks like it's not working out so well.

And I found the minimum voting age: it's 18.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:26 PM on September 28, 2004

Asparagirl : Thank you for that. You either had the answers to hand or did a lot of digging for me. Ta!

What triggered this was wondering what would happen if a none-friend of the USA got in and ordered us out. We'd either leave or we'd declare the elections a joke and take control again.

The situation seems likely yet the poasaible outcomes both seem incredibly unlikely to me.

We'll just have to see how it works out I guess.
posted by twine42 at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2004

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